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article imageHuman rights court urged to overturn Fujimori pardon

By AFP     Feb 2, 2018 in World

Rights groups and relatives of victims asked the Inter-American Court of Human Rights Friday to rule against a pardon for former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori who was jailed for human rights abuses.

"We have come here today to express our rejection of the pardon given to Alberto Fujimori -- a pardon that amounts to an insult to the memory and dignity of our brothers, fathers and sons," one relative, Carmen Amaro, told the court.

Fujimori, 79, was pardoned by the current Peruvian president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, on December 24 on humanitarian grounds because of ill-health.

The former leader had been serving a 25-year prison sentence for crimes that included commanding death squads that killed suspected civilian sympathizers of leftwing guerrillas that his regime was fighting.

The pardon triggered street protests in Peru and was slammed by international rights groups as a blow in the struggle against impunity.

Kuczynski's pardon was seen by many as quid pro quo for Fujimori's lawmaker son Kenji's help days earlier in beating an impeachment vote in Congress over alleged corruption.

"We will persist and we will fight until the person responsible for the deaths of our relatives is returned to prison," Amaro said in court. "This is not revenge, it is an act of justice."

The court, which is based in the Costa Rican capital, was established by the Organization of American States in 1979 to rule on cases involving violations by states of the American Convention on Human Rights.

A lawyer representing the Peruvian government, Jorge Villegas, responded that Peru "has a tradition of giving pardons in humanitarian cases, many of them to those convicted of terrorism."

He said the state "reaffirms its right to give humanitarian pardons even in the case of grave human rights violations."

Another government lawyer, Adrian Simons, argued that activists opposing the pardon had not exhausted the court system in Peru before petitioning the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

An activist with the Association for Human Rights, Gloria Cano, asserted that the pardon went against the American Convention on Human Rights and was a "political pact" to save Kuczynski from impeachment.

The chief judge of the court, Eduardo Ferrer, said at the end of the hearing that the arguments would be studied and the tribunal would make a decision on the petition in the near future.

More about Peru, Politics, Rights, Court, Fujimori
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